Sunday, May 28, 2006

It's not about the stitching

There's an interesting thread (pardon the pun) at Melody Johnson's blog. Melody has always quilted her work extensively, but is now producing simpler pieces and has become unhappy with heavy quilting on them, so she's wrestling with doing less. Her readers are divided on this, some supporting the "more" side, and some (like me) the "less" view.

I accepted several years ago that I didn't quilt like others, and I got over it. In New Zealand, free motion quilting used to be synonomous with stippling , which I could not master and I flet inferior because of this. Yes, I have done classes on FMQ that were entirely about stippling - there was no other style. I never exhibited any of my work until 2 or 3 years ago because of this, but as I said, I got over it (now I FMQ, but I still don't stipple).

My opinion on this - quilting was originally the method of keeping the layers together. Decorative stitching came later. So when I decided to stick with my basic stitching, I felt I was taking quilting back to its roots. My work is about colour and design first and foremost, and the stitching is secondary. Of course, this is not the case for everyone, and there is room for both points of view. To me, it's a case of "do what you feel is right for the piece you're stitching, and what feels right for you".

What do others think?


Deb H said...

For me it's more about the quilting. I LOVE doing free motion work, it flows for me, & I seldom "stipple". That's feeling a bit overused to me. I also love the threads, & frequently want to feature them. I love it when they sparkle & shine.

Ali Honey said...

To date ( pre new machine ) all my quilts were handquilted and I wanted the stitching to show ( cause it took ages to do ) so I used mainly variegated threads. I think there is room for both points of what YOU like!

joyce said...

I agree. Do what YOU like. Many people in my area love to hand applique. They turn pale at the mention of fusing as if it's not really quilting. There are also many incredible hand quilters. I felt a bit inadequate until I found so many quilters online who do their own thing. It's so encouraging. Thanks to all you free wheeling quilters out there I can enjoy doing my own thing without feeling that it's not RIGHT.

Catherine said...

Stippling all over the quilt makes it very stiff and heavy. I think it is OK in its place but it has become way overdone. Hand stippling was originally used to flatten the background around elaborate decorative motifs so that the motifs stood out - it wasn't intended to be the "star" but to be the chorus against which the "star" stood out.
It's really about deciding what is appropriate for a particular quilt. If you use one solution for all quilts it's like cutting off your guests feet, or stretching them, to make them fit your bed!